What a mixed bag. Some things about this place were sensational and others were terrible. I think it has the potential to be amazing with a bit of work.
First thing: the price was absolutely smashing, and included a king room, ocean views and daily breakfast for 2. It was in a superb location on the island, close to the highway and roughly in the middle. This is the "good side" of San Miguel to stay on, it was much much warmer and sunnier than the northern side. And this hotel seemed to be in the sunniest pocket of the whole island. We would walk out into a sunny warm day to the car, drive to some place of interest, get out of the car and be freezing! This happened the whole week we are there. Conclusion: best location on the island!
Feature-wise, this hotel has it all (with some caveats). Beautiful gardens surround the hotel. It is right on the ocean, and most rooms have an ocean view and balcony. It has it's own private access point to the beach. It has an in-ground pool with bar. We spent a few evenings by the pool and were served well by the very quirky barman, who was happy to stay open late if you wanted to keep ordering. It has a restaurant, as well as a bar serving bar food - but the bar menu was pretty ordinary and anything that we did order from the restaurant was, well, not good, not good at all. Disappointing, because unless you want to travel into the main city for dinner, or know where the hidden gems are in the tiny backstreets of the towns, you don't really have many dinner options. Especially if you are a vegetarian - if you are, stock up on goods from the supermarket in the city before heading back to the room to make your own dinner! The hotel has a gym, although I don't think it is used much and was under the hotel, I ventured in and walked out because of the dank mustiness.
Staff: another mixed bag. One of the women at the front desk was borderline rude every time we spoke to her. When we arrived, we were 1 hour before check-in, because we had forgot to allow for the time difference. She turned us away. And I mean away, not inviting us to sit in the lobby or the bar downstairs. Fair enough if the room wasn't ready, but she could have been polite about it. I doubt that the room wasn't ready, because the hotel would have been less than half booked, so surely some room fitting our purchase would have been available? Not to worry, we hung out in the garden and enjoyed the sea view for an hour. When we returned, she rudely told us the room was still not ready, and made us wait an additional 10 minutes before allowing us in. Maybe she just didn't like something about us, because she gave us one of the worst possible rooms she could have- we booked a room with an ocean view, and yes it did have this, but it was the most remote corner view/glimpse of the least picturesque side of the ocean. It looked straight out over the garden (nice) but to see the ocean one had to crane to the right. It was also the smallest room on the level: we could see this by the floor plans on the fire exit chart. Our room was reduced in size by about a third compared to the other rooms around us because of the cleaners storage room taking up some of the space next to our room. Other staff at the front desk were nice, but we mostly saw the rude lady. The restaurant staff were also rude, add that to their tasteless, overcooked meals.
Despite having the smallest room on the floor, the room was a good size. But it was cluttered with WAY too much furniture. Random buffets and desks lined the wall. There was so much furniture in the room, that to open the door to the balcony, we had to move the coffee table and lounge chair up against the bar fridge. Frustratingly, every day we had to rearrange it because the cleaners kept putting it back. The bathroom was a generous size, with separate toilet. It was decorated beautifully in marble. But the design of the shower head and shower curtain was useless - there was literally no way to shower without practically flooding the bathroom floor. The first shower event (no practice) resulted in every towel in the room having to be used to prevent the excess water escaping onto the carpet. It was equally splendid when we returned to our room that evening to find that the cleaners had not replaced these wet towels, only rehung them on the rack. Thanks. Last of all, the massive king ( 2 singles pushed together) was one of the most uncomfortable things I have ever lain on. I do not think the mattresses have been replaced since the building was erected. I could hear the few remaining springs pinging loose (i am not at all heavy!). It sagged terribly, and pained my back much.
So to summarise, complete mixed bag. Big rooms with too much furniture and terrible beds. Great bathroom but prone to flooding. 2 eateries with bad staff and food. Extensive list of features many of which have been let go. Plenty of staff, half of which are rude. I guess that is why a massive hotel in a great location is priced so low. Give this place an overhaul (including the staff) and it could be a palace.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Set on São Miguel Island, with direct access to the beach "Baia de Água d'Alto" and with clear panoramic view to the Atlantic Ocean, you can find here the harmony and peace that you need for your holidays. São Miguel is the largest island of the archipelago, where more than half of the island's population lives at. Together with Santa Maria Island, São Miguel forms the Eastern Group of the Azores Archipelago. Whether for its proximity to the ocean, as well as for its large outdoor freshwater swimming pool. Every single area of this 4-star hotel was exhaustively planned in order to ensure the communion between elegance and good taste with the environment. The rooms have a balcony and a panoramic view over the ocean, along with the hills. Save some time to admire the exquisiteness that surrounds you. All the spaces were carefully planned in order to make good taste and elegance prevail in a classic and refined atmosphere, in synchrony with the surrounding beauty. This is a resort with a strong affinity to water. This Hotel has at your will a wide range of facilities that include Junior and Senior Suites, restaurants, bars, swimming pool, conference rooms, games rooms, library and reading room, saunas, gym, gardens and areas reserved for banquets, marriages and baptisms. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Hotel Bahia Palace
- Pestana Bahia Praia Azores/Sao Miguel